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tv   ABC World News With Diane Sawyer  ABC  October 1, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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tonight on "world news," troubled skies. two times, american airlines flights forced to land as passenger seats come loose in midair. the latest on the bizarre scare in the sky. crunch time. a make or break week for president obama and governor romney. hunkering down, cramming for the big debate. what are their secrets to land the knockout punch? peanut butter. a massive recall expanding tonight. we'll tell you which symptoms could spell trouble for you and your family. and, oscar stunner. the new host for the academy awards. not a movie star. why fans of the "family guy" are having the last laugh tonight. >> victory is mine! good evening from "world news."
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and we begin with breaking news. an american airlines plane has been forced to land under strange circumstances. a whole row of seats shaken loose,passengers upended. and this is the second time seats have come loose and forced a landing in three days. so, what is going on? for the latest on what happened today, let's go right to abc's senior national correspondent, jim avila. >> 685, what can i do for you? >> roger. got an unusual one for you. >> reporter: no one can remember this happening before. not passengers, so rattled they didn't want to be identified. >> the seats flipped backwards and, so, people were essentially on the laps of the passengers behind them with their legs up in the air. >> reporter: not aviation experts. >> i've never seen anything like that in all my years, 30 years of covering the airline industry. >> reporter: no one can remember airline seats disconnecting from the cabin floor. and now it's happened twice in
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three days aboard two american airlines 757s. >> during climb-out, rows -- passenger seats row 12, d, e and f came loose out of the floor. >> reporter: american airlines flight 685, from boston to miami, diverted in mid-flight, declaring an emergency and landing at jfk in new york because a row of seats had disengaged from its rails on a nearly full flight. one of the displaced passengers is moved to the flight attendant's jump seat. but fearing turbulence en route, the captain decides to land before the loose row becomes an in-flight missile. >> we don't want that thing flying around and hurting the passenger behind it. the seat is loose and can rotate pretty quickly. >> reporter: today, a second american flight from jfk to miami turned back after takeoff because of loose seats. elevating american's struggles from inconvenience to safety concerns. >> i think it could be sabotage
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or it could just be sloppiness. but either way, it's kind of a disaster for the airline. >> reporter: american is in the middle of a labor dispute with all of its unions including maintenance workers, but insists despite its earlier claims that the 97% increase in maintenance delays in september were deliberate work actions, today, american claims this is different and anyone who says that the disconnected seats are also a deliberate act are irresponsible and outrageous. the unions have denied any work action. the faa says it is monitoring the seat situation and inspections on the two american planes actually found more than just one row in each were loose. tonight, american has ordered its 757s inspected, saying there could be a possible issue with a certain model of seat and how they fit into the tracking. they say the seats in question were not all installed at the same location. >> what a time for american airlines. thank you, jim. and now we turn to politics. the countdown on. barack obama and mitt romney getting ready to face off for
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the first time in this week's debate. and we have a new poll, asking americans how they would vote if the election were held right now. the abc news/"washington post" poll shows the two contenders separated by just two points among likely voters. 36 days to go now before your voice, your vote. and abc's jake tapper and abc's david muir are traveling with the candidates to tell us how you train for a debate night that could change everything. jake leads us off. jake? >> reporter: diane, top obama campaign officials have been poring over republican debate tapes, studying mitt romney. and according to one person familiar with the president's debate preparations, it has been exhausting work and the president is definitely out of practice, though, of course, the campaign has been trying to lower expectations. president obama has been practicing for wednesday's debate at the westin lake las vegas resort and spa, 17 miles from the las vegas strip. presidential debate veteran
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senator john kerry is participating in the mock debates, pretending to be a different patrician wealthy massachusetts pol, mitt romney. yesterday, in las vegas, the president tried to lower expectations. >> i know folks in the media are speculating already on who's going to have the best zingers. >> you are! >> governor romney, he's a good debater. i'm just okay. >> reporter: a new "washington post"/abc news poll shows the president enjoys advantages going into this debate. 66% say his policies have favored the middle class, while 57% think romney's, instead, would favor the wealthy. but the campaign sees some liabilities, as well. the president can get peevish when challenged. >> you're likable enough, hillary. >> reporter: his debate prep team is also studying presidential debates of the last 20 or so years, focusing on unforced stylistic errors, such as al gore's exasperated sighs. the president is also quite verbose. when i asked him a two-part
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question in august, his answer was -- >> on afghanistan. >> reporter: longer than 5 1/2 minutes. he's working to make answers crisper and more concise. obama aides say they see as one of romney's key weaknesses, his reluctance to go into detail about his policies. for instance, he has not indicated what tax loopholes he would close to pay for his tax cuts. they hope he will be pressed on this wednesday night. we go now to david muir traveling with the romney campaign. >> reporter: hey, jake. good evening from denver. the debate two days from now in this city. mitt romney will appear a short time from now at a rally right behind me. his campaign today acknowledging he will spend most of his time hunkered down, preparing for the most important night of his political career. the debate stage coming together here at the university of denver, where governor romney will stand on the same stage with the president for the first time. romney flying here from boston today, along with a team of top advisers with whom he's practiced extensively.
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in early september, he spent days at this secluded retreat in vermont. then, more practice in los angeles. then, just this weekend in boston. and playing the role of the president in those mock debates, senator rob portman of ohio. portman taking pointed shots at romney in his answers. as top romney advisers looked on, studying not only romney's answers, but his body language. romney joking portman playing the president so well -- >> he's playing barack obama in these mock debates we have. i don't like him very much anymore. >> reporter: governor romney also reportedly studying president obama's past debates. the new abc news/"washington post" poll shows 56% of voters expect the president to win the debates. only 29% believe romney will win. which offers romney a real opportunity to exceed expectations. republican chris christie, predicting just that. >> you're going to be shaking your head, saying it's a brand new race. >> reporter: and running mate paul ryan just today, hanging success on these final 36 days on the debates. >> the debate and choice phase, the debate phase in our campaign. we will make this case in our debates.
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>> reporter: and today, a bit of a hint on what we'll hear on that debate stage. we heard repeatedly, quote, we cannot afford another four years like the last four years. we can expect to hear that. and one morae a more acknowledg, and they say with the numbers where they are in the battleground states right now, they are not trying to reach the undecideds, they are trying to peel away some of president obama's supporters too, diane. >> all right, david. david and jake and george stephanopoulos and i and the entire abc news political team will be covering it, one-on-one, wednesday night. the candidates debate, beginning at 9:00 eastern/6:00 pacific. and now, the latest on the major recall of a staple in american kitchens, peanut butter. the recall is growing. the centers for disease control has now confirmed that at least 30 people in 19 states were all sickened by salmonella, most of them children. and the clues are pointing investigators toward some well-known brand names, trader
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joe's, whole foods and target. abc's steve osunsami has more details. >> reporter: what's especially frightening is that most of the people who've gotten sick from the recalled peanut butter are children under the age of 10. >> i am concerned. i love peanut butter. >> you don't know what you're getting. very scary. >> reporter: this all began with one brand of sea salt peanut butter at trader joe's, but the recall now has cleared out peanut butter aisles at kroger, whole foods and target. investigators have traced the trouble to sunland incorporated, a peanut butter manufacturer in new mexico that sells products in grocery stores across the country. the list of recalled peanut butter products is 101 items long, and now includes nut butters made with almonds, cashews and sesame seeds. and it gets worse. companies like the oregon ice cream company and fairytale brownies, which used the recalled nut butter to make cookies and other baked goods, they're now recalling their products, too. >> people have been getting sick over the last month and because
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there is often a two-week delay or so in the reporting time, we expect to hear about cases for the next week or two. >> reporter: we should make clear that none of this affects moms who choose jif, skippy or other main brands. today, we talked with the managers at that peanut butter company in new mexico. they told us they test their product every half hour, that their peanut butter is safe and that the illnesses are a mystery. steve osunsami, abc news, atlanta. >> and you can find a full list of all the recalled peanut butter brands at and now, we at abc mark a milestone in america's longest war, afghanistan. now, entering its 12th year. a milestone of sacrifice. the ap says 2,000 u.s. troops have now died in combat there. and abc's michael boettcher has been covering the war in afghanistan from the beginning, living among american troops and the military says, more than any other reporter, including a full
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year with the 101st airborne. and tonight, he has a report on this crossroads and the road ahead. >> reporter: there is not one face to this grim milestone. there are 2,000. americans who gave their lives in this nation's longest war. soldiers like lieutenant alejo thompson, a son of yuma, arizona, husband and father of two, who was killed last may by an afghan soldier he was mentoring -- a so-called green on blue or insider attack. we traveled to the scene to speak to sergeant joshua danison who witnessed the attack. his is the first public eyewitness account of an insider attack. >> we woke up one morning to some gunshots being fired. it was an afghan national army soldier. the shooter actually walked up to lieutenant thompson, who had already been wounded, and shot him a second time. >> reporter: thompson's killer escaped after the attack, and in this taliban video, is shown
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being given a hero's welcome. now, the men, who trust each other with their lives, wrestle with betrayal. >> there were comments that we we don't trust them, we don't want to be around them, we don't want to have to partner with them anymore. but to overcome that, we have to look at it as a mission. >> reporter: but for the troops, there is worry. uneasiness is part of the mission now. and will be until the last american troops leave afghanistan in 2014. >> i hope that's bread and not an ied. >> reporter: the sound of a little test fire catches everyone's ear. hardened warriors on edge over those insider attacks. >> and our mike boettcher is here right now. so, mike, what are they saying about 27 more months until the drawdown, the year ahead? >> reporter: well, bottom line is, they don't want the last 11 years to be for nothing, so, they press on to honor the fallen. but this next year, the most critical of all. >> so, they are at war, this
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next year, in a whole new way. >> reporter: with a new threat. >> new threat. and you'll be covering it, i know. thank you so much. and still ahead right here on "world news," watch this. an extraordinary new crash test. what it can teach us about how to survive an air disaster. why where you're sitting on a plane can save your life. [ male announcer ] this is rudy.
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earlier here tonight, we told you about what happened today, the scary moment in the air. but now, you're going to get to watch a groundbreaking test that promises to teach us important lessons about protecting ourselves and our families in a disaster. is it as simple as choosing the right seat on an airplane? or the way you brace for impact? here's neal karlinsky. >> reporter: a boeing 727 over the mexican desert, speeding towards the ground and the flight crew has just bailed out a hatch in the back, with parachutes. left behind on board? the passengers, more than a half million dollars worth of crash test dummies, along with 38 specialized high speed cameras and sensors imbedded in the frame. all hurtling towards every flyer's ultimate terror -- a sudden, horrifying crash.
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this stunning, made to order catastrophe was done for the discovery channel show "curiosity: plane crash," all to better understand what really happens to people onboard. >> i suspect we're going to see maybe a broken ankle. >> reporter: injury biomechanics expert dr. cindy bir says the crash dummies tell the story. bracing for impact can save your life. what should you do? put your head -- >> you put your head down, put your hands over. >> reporter: hands over your head? >> yeah. and just hold it. >> reporter: and that works? >> well, yeah. it does. >> reporter: the results showed that passengers near the front took the brunt of it. rows seven and forward were considered fatal. the forces were substantially less in the middle and much less in the rear of the plane. though to dr. bir's surprise, many of the seat-belted passengers who didn't bend over to brace had spinal injuries from jerking forward in their lap belts. >> that was a pretty severe impact. >> reporter: and she showed us something else in her lab -- a
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simulated mother holding an infant on her lap. a familiar money saver for parents everywhere. after a relatively minor impact, the mother can't hold on. another critical tip. generally sitting within five rows of an exit gives a passenger the best odds, because getting out fast is key. lessons from an aviation disaster that may actually save lives. neal karlinsky, abc news, detroit. >> and the show "curiosity: plane crash" airs sunday, october 7th on the discovery channel. and you can see more tonight on "nightline." and coming up here, the hall of fame of oscar favorites, bob hope, billy crystal. so, who is next? get ready to be surprised. ♪ [ male announcer ] how do you turn an entrepreneur's dream... ♪
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awards will be seth macfarlane. and even he wouldn't be surprised if you don't know his name. in fact, last year, he was asked by mtv if he'd ever be running to host the oscars, he said -- >> no, not i. i would -- nobody knows who i am. >> that's not true. >> i don't think -- i think you have to, you know, at least be on a cable show first. >> not so fast. the surprise is on him. he is the creator and the voices on the animated hits "family guy," "american dad" and this summer's sleeper hit, "ted," a movie. and he showed up as the host on the season premiere of "saturday night live," showing his song and dance chops. ♪ oh my head is filled with voices ♪ ♪ and they never go away >> macfarlane says he's a big fan of johnny carson and bob hope and wants to bring their kind of showmanship to the job. the 85th annual academy awards will air february 24th, 2013,
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right here on abc. and coming up, remember this spontaneous line? >> senator, you're no jack kennedy. >> was it really spontaneous or scripted? secrets of winning a presidential debate, next. before copd... i took my son fishing every year. we had a great spot, not easy to find, but worth it. but with copd making it hard to breathe, i thought those days might be over. so my doctor prescribed symbicort. it helps significantly improve my lung function starting within five minutes. symbicort doesn't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. with symbicort, today i'm breathing better. and that on! symbicort is for copd including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. it should not be taken more than twice a day. symbicort may increase your risk of lung infections, osteoporosis, and some eye problems. tell your doctor if you have a heart condition or high blood pressure before taking it. with copd, i thought i'd miss our family tradition. now symbicort significantly improves my lung function,
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and finally tonight, as you know, the pressure cooker, the first presidential debate, will take place in just two days. so, we looked back at some of the classic moments in debate history and, it turns out, some of the spontaneous quips were scripted. abc's john donvan tells us about winning debate night. >> reporter: 28 times since 196 1960, plus vice presidentials and primaries, with not a single moment of rhetorical greatness, but plenty of lessons on how to survive one of these things. lesson one -- prescript your zingers carefully. think this was spontaneous? reagan to carter. >> there you go again. >> reporter: scripted. so was this. bentsen to quayle. >> i served with jack kennedy. i knew jack kennedy. jack kennedy was a friend of mine. senator, you're no jack kennedy. >> reporter: lesson two -- think spelling bee. memorize every possible answer because mistakes will define you
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forever. don't get the obvious stuff wrong. >> there is no soviet domination of eastern europe. >> reporter: and have a plan to handle bizarro curveball questions. >> if kitty dukakis were raped and murdered -- >> reporter: mr. dukakis there, governor, answered that death penalty question with policy talk. >> i think there are better and more effective ways to deal with violent crime. >> reporter: -- which did not go well for him. which leads to lesson three -- appearances count, above all. jfk. tan. nixon? just out of the hospital, pale and refusing professional makeup. lighting counts, too. in 1984, reagan's people fussed more over his, man mondale's did over his. and reagan always had a glass of wine just before going on to get the rosy cheeks. lesson four. real debating? so far, after 52 years, not actually required here, so, relax. learn your lines and don't speak in a look at your wristwatch because that will definitely hurt you. besides, 90 minutes and you're done. possibly for good. john donvan, abc news,
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washington. >> and we're so glad you were watching. you may have noticed some differences here in our studio. let us hear from you at and, of course, "nightline" will be along later. as we leave you tonight, with a look at the white house, aglow in pink in honor of breast cancer awareness month. we'll see you again tomorrow. until then, good night. next at 6:00 disbelief in a albany school. the death of a teacher at the center of a student sex scandal. also. >> i am not now intimidated by cowardly acts. >> the mayor stands his ground after a law office is set on fire and the collision between a big rig and a amtrak train
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and why it could have been worse. >> and vacant church being trance formed in san francisco. and what they aren't places of worship anymore. there are authorities investigating the sexual relationship with a teacher and studentent. >> the key question is did the teacher take his own life? police suspect that is what happened and we have the latest on this story. >> this is a very tight knit community. many knew what is going on. many knew the teacher and were shocked to find this out. the parents and students were informed of the death around by a robo call around 3:15 this afternoon. police believe the 28-year-old known to most students


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